Green Idea: Going Half-Luddite With the Laundry

Green Idea: Going Half-Luddite With the Laundry

Taryn Williford
Sep 17, 2010

We'd all save a little energy if we could unplug and turn off every single thing in our homes. But these appliances are a modern convenience worth paying for. We'd much rather see an increase in our utility bills than hand-wash and line-dry every single load of laundry. But laundry isn't an all-or-nothing process. In fact, to get the best results for your clothes and your wallet, go half-Luddite with the laundry. Here's how.

1. Hand wash the little things.
Towels and jeans take forever to wash by hand—we'll lug those down to the $3-a-load laundromat any day. But for smaller pieces like underwear, socks and delicates (the things you run out of first!), hand-washing is an easy solution.

Plus, it's better for your clothes in the long-term: Heat and aggressive jostling from the washing machine both can quickly wear down fibers in smaller and thinner garments.

2. Air dry, then machine dry.
The biggest complaints about line-drying clothes are that it takes too long and that your clothes come out stiff. Solve both problems by using a dual-dry method: Hang 'em on a line until your clothes are 90 percent dry, then pop them in the dryer machine for a few minutes at the "air dry" setting to loosen the fibers and finish the job.

According to, people who regularly line dry can save around $25 on their bills each month. And neither line-drying nor the "air fluff" setting subject your clothes to fiber-killing intense heat.

(Images: Flickr user spike55151 under license from Creative Commons, Flickr user Nathan Gibbs under license from Creative Commons.)

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